What is my English level? How to understand your own English level

Understanding your English level can be confusing. Perhaps you find reading and writing pretty easy, but you struggle when it comes to listening, and speaking is a real challenge for you. It can be difficult to assess your level when you feel like your abilities vary depending on the task. The CEFR (the Common European Framework of Reference) is the easiest way to answer this question. Taking into account the varying skills and abilities of a language user, the scale is used to accurately determine the speaker’s level. The scale has six levels, ranging from A1 to C2. We will explain each level and what it means for you so that you can give yourself the best possible opportunity to know your place in your English journey. We will also give you some tips on how to advance to the next level, so your progress can continue!


A1 | Elementary

At A1 level, what should I be able to do? 

  • You can understand and use very common everyday expressions and simple phrases. You can participate in very simple conversations and use a basic range of vocabulary. 
  • You can introduce yourself, including personal details such as your age, your profession, where you live, people in your life, etc. You can also introduce other people and provide basic details about them.
  • You can communicate in a simple way, provided the other person talks slowly and clearly, and you may need them to repeat themselves. 

How can I achieve A2 level?

To work your way towards A2 level, you should focus on expanding your vocabulary, by taking notes and memorizing new words. You should also avoid speaking in your mother tongue when in class, and try to “think” in English. Focus on bettering your descriptions and keep your communication basic- don’t overcomplicate it! Try to perfect the basics of A1 grammar so that you have a good springboard for reaching A2. 


A2 English Level

A2 | Pre-Intermediate

At A2 level, what should I be able to do? 

  • You can understand sentences and common expressions about familiar topics, such as basic personal information, family and friends, shopping, work, etc.  
  • You can communicate regarding everyday occurrences and tasks that require only simple exchanges of information. 
  • You can describe aspects of your past and environment. You can also communicate matters related to their immediate needs. 

How can I achieve B1 level?

If you’re approaching B1 level, this means your level has advanced quite a bit since you began your English journey. At this stage, you should be prepared to widen your English horizon and your exposure to the language. Try improving your listening skills by watching a series in English, or begin reading a simple book in English. You can find tips on how to improve your reading skills here. Writing and speaking should also be developed, utilizing whatever opportunity you have to do so.


B1 | Intermediate

At B1 level, what should I be able to do? 

  • You can understand the main idea of clearly-written texts on familiar topics. 
  • You can handle most interactions on visits to English-speaking countries. 
  • You can produce basic, clear texts about familiar topics.
  • You can describe past experiences, events and situations, desires, wishes, hopes, and aspirations, and you can explain opinions, ideas, and plans. 

How can I achieve B2 level?

Continue with the tips we’ve given to move from A2 to B1 level. Try to broaden your exposure by watching more series, reading more content, and attempting to speak more. At this stage, you could consider using language exchange apps in order to practice with a native speaker. 

B2 English Level CEFR

B2 | Upper-Intermediate

At B2 level, what should I be able to do? 

  • You can understand the main ideas of more complex texts on both concrete or abstract topics. You can even understand some technical pieces of information.
  • You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously enough to comfortably communicate with other English speakers. You should notice a more natural quality when you speak, both in pronunciation fluidity of speech. 
  • You can produce clear, detailed, and comprehensive written pieces on various subjects, as well as explain and develop a complex viewpoint on a topic, including expressing advantages and disadvantages, opinions, agreement, disagreement, etc. 


How can I achieve C1 level?

So you’ve achieved B2, and you’re ready to reach Advanced. This is a huge step and you should be extremely proud of how far you’ve come in your journey! There is a bit of a jump from B2 to C1, but nothing you can’t handle. At this stage, the majority of grammar should be learned, and your vocabulary should be robust. What you should focus on now is learning to speak like a native. This can include any number of things, such as speaking with more native speakers, learning slang from TV programmes and music, or filling your social media feed with English content. Increase your English exposure by listening to podcasts also. You should also work on your pronunciation at this stage, fine-tuning tricky sounds so that you can perfect your speaking skills. 


C1 | Advanced

At C1 level, what should I be able to do? 

  • You can comprehend a wide range of more difficult and complex texts as well as recognise implicit meanings, irony, and sarcasm. 
  • You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without having to think about finding the right expression. At this point, you should be able to fully think within your second language. 
  • You can use language flexibly and effectively for all kinds of scenarios- social, academic, professional, informal, etc. It will be easy to adjust your register depending on the context and situation. You can produce clear, organized, and complex text on more abstract subjects.


How can I achieve C2 level?

When you feel like you have mastered C1 level, don’t be surprised if you hit what’s known as a language plateau. Essentially, imagine being a bodybuilder who’s lifted the heaviest weights in the gym. You may feel like you’ve reached the limit of your learning, and that there is no room for expansion or development. At this stage, you should prioritize making English enjoyable, by challenging yourself or setting unconventional goals. This may include learning new and abstract vocabulary, learning more idioms or phrasal verbs, and even pushing yourself to try various translation techniques. You should also focus on having a regular speaking outlet, so as to prevent your hard work wearing off. This will be the path to follow for the rest of your English journey- maintaining the language in an enjoyable and fresh way, so that eventually it becomes as natural as your mother tongue. 

C2 | Proficient

At C2 level, what should I be able to do? 

  • You can easily understand practically everything you hear or read, regardless of the source, accent, context, etc.
  • You can summarize information with a clear understanding of the content. You can present and analyze arguments from various spoken and written sources. You can also coherently and concisely mediate information to other people. 
  • You can express yourself naturally, spontaneously, and very precisely. You can focus on nuances and semantics within speech, and you’re able to differentiate and be selective with your communication, rather than settling for a general meaning. 


Hopefully, you’re a little clearer on how the CEFR works, and you have a better idea of your own language level. Remember, moving between levels takes time, effort, and consistency. As always, practice makes perfect. Increasing your exposure to English will help you achieve your goals and reach fluency, as well as having regular English lessons, particularly in the earlier and middle stages of learning. If you’re still unsure of your level and would like to hear from one of our qualified teachers, book a free class here and receive your level assessment in your first session. Happy learning!


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